The final step in our pig butchering adventure was the sausage making. We didn’t do it all on the first day of pig butchering, either, but let the meat age a bit longer in the refrigerator and stuffed it over the next week before freezing the links and bulk sausage.
We made a couple mistakes along the way, but learned from those mistakes and because of them found a great manual sausage stuffer that I highly recommend. We’ll use it any time we make any kind of stuffed sausage in the future, whether from pork, venison, beef or other meats.
As we butchered the pig, we saved all the meat and fat scraps and cut them into small pieces that would easily fit into the meat grinder. In retrospect, we should have seasoned them prior to grinding, but this was a learning experience and we’ll definitely do that next time.
As I ground the pork, I tried to keep the fat and meat amounts about even in the meat grinder hopper. This resulted in a really wonderful sausage blend — there was just the right amount of fat when frying the sausage and the flavor was great.
After grinding, I separated it into 10-pound sections. We made 20 pounds of breakfast sausage (about half bulk/ patties and half small links), 10 pounds of sweet Italian links and 10 pounds of hot Italian links.
By the way, we used a Waring Pro meat grinder and it’s a great one — highly recommended it.
Now, here’s where we added the spice/ seasoning mixtures to the ground pork, and mixed it all up in my KitchenAid stand mixer. This changed the consistency and made the sausage just slightly more mushy, which is why next time we’ll add the spices to the meat before grinding.
I mixed the spices in batches for 10 pounds of pork each, and had them waiting in containers for when there was enough meat to mix them into.
We decided to make most of the sausage into links, both kielbasa-sized and the smaller breakfast links. We purchased a manual sausage stuffer (luckily it arrived in two days) that proved invaluable and a great tool to add to our homesteading collection. This was an excellent buy — it’s incredibly sturdy, made in America, and perfect for stuffing any amount of sausage.
It was fun making the links, a new project for both of us. After a while, we found that having one of us on the crank and one twisting the sausage into links (twist the first one way, the second the opposite and so on to keep them from unraveling) worked best.
And so we completed another practical homesteading project — the butchering of a hog, and sausage making. We plan to make this an annual event as we work toward greater self-sufficiency.